THE MP for North East Hampshire has formally presented a petition about planning to the House of Commons.

James Arbuthnot MP presented the petition on Monday. It had been signed by more than 250 people in Hook and Rotherwick, and calls on the Government to effectively give more power to councils without a planning blueprint.

The action follows a public meeting held in Hook in March, during which villagers expressed their anger about plans to build more than 500 homes to the north east of the village.

The meeting heard that Hart District Council, the planning authority, has limited powers to refuse development after the Planning Inspectorate rejec-ted its Local Plan – the blueprint for new development in the village.

The petition calls on the Government to allow councils to refuse planning applications before a Local Plan is in place.

Hook ward councillors Brian Burchfield, Mike Morris and Jonathan Glen, who handed the petition to Mr Arbuthnot, said: “We want to ensure that any new development is not only phased, but comes with real infrastructure improvements.

“To do this, we need a Local Plan in place and we need the Planning Inspectorate to reject premature development.”

But Dermot Smith, of the Hook Action Against Over-development campaign group, said he did not think the petition will have much effect.

He said: “It might be different if it had been written by a group of MPs. I can’t imagine that a petition in the name of three local councillors in a ward in the Home Counties is going to do anything.”

Mr Smith added that the group had been chasing the councillors about the petition since the meeting, where it was raised.